Integration                                                                  1008 words

May 2022

Howard R Music

 

I started first grade in 1960 in a small community school thirteen-miles from downtown Dallas, Texas.  The state was more rural in those days and there was still a lot of open countryside right up to the edge of the cities.

The schools were segregated then and the only person of color in my class was a Mexican girl who lived nearby.  I don't think Mexicans were segregated in north Texas because at the time there was not enough of them to warrant separate schools.  Our fathers both worked at a sand plant on the Trinity River.  My mother was a gregarious person and would sometimes take us by their house for visits.  

I stayed in the smaller schools on the edge of the city until the sixth grade until my father was transferred to a rural county west of Dallas, an all white farming community where we lived for three-years until my father was transferred back to Dallas.  We rented a house in South Oak Cliff.  There was block after block of houses and businesses and was the first place I'd ever lived where you couldn't walk out into the woods or into a pasture and find horses and cows.  I remember being happy to move back because I'd had good memories of Dallas such as the state fair and going to the drive-in movies and the parks and swimming pools.  However, I was in for a shock.

The schools were now integrated and I started my first year of high school in a huge, three-story facility that was 90% black.  There were a few Mexicans and a handful of American Indians.  It was not unusual for me to be the only white kid in class.

My experience was typical of those published in the few internet sites that allow truth and also chronicled by Collin Flaherty in his books.  Being a skinny, blond-headed kid, I had dealt with bullies before, but it was usually a one-on-one encounter.  A flash attack out of the blue for no reason by several at once in a classroom or hallway was a totally new experience.  The staff was not exempt.  I once saw a hulking brute threaten a teacher with a coke bottle, an old, heavy glass container that could be redeemed for two-cents at any store if it wasn't used to cave in a skull.  Fortunately, guns weren't as common on the streets as they are today.  I only remember seeing one while in school, a small revolver that a white kid carried for insurance.

Years later I made friends with a man who had gone to a Dallas school and related the same experiences.  He described it as hand-to-hand combat with bricks and clubs.

The incidents weren't limited to the schools.  Some friend and I were playing a knife throwing game in my back yard one night and a black kid sprang out of the bushes and stole the knife sticking in the target.  There was so much violence in the school, and theft in the neighborhood as well, that my father moved us back to a rural area at the end of the school year.  We weren't the only ones.  Houses went up for sale everywhere and there was a steady stream of black motorists cruising the area looking to buy.

After high school I joined the Air Force in 1972.  There weren't many blacks in that branch of service.  There were a few violent altercations, all black on white or black on black, but nothing of consequence.  The biggest contention I observed was that many blacks thought they were being singled out when they were disciplined.  The Air Force at the time was probably the epitome of equal opportunity.  Whites were sanctioned just as often if they screwed up.  One black airman told me none of the "brothers" as they called themselves, liked one of our black sergeants.  I remember the sergeant as a smart, career man, who treated us quite well.

As a civilian I never forgot my integrated high school experience and avoided concentrations of blacks if at all possible.  That is until around 2015 when I took a job at the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport driving a shuttle bus.  The employee parking lots were located on the ends of the airport and we provided transportation to the terminals.  It is a twenty-four-hour operation and can get hectic during shift changes.  To my surprise almost all of the drivers, including my main supervisor were black.  I was concerned, to say the least, but I wanted the job and was determined not to be intimidated.

My concerns were unfounded.  Most of the drivers were Christians who openly declared their faith.  A big percentage of those were African immigrants from various nations such as Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, West Africa and South Sudan.  They were cheerful, friendly, had a good work ethic and got along well with the passengers.  We were busy most of the time, but did occasionally converse, and they would talk of their homelands or of their faith.  I was impressed with their devotion to their children.  Since some of them had come from war torn areas, I had the distinct feeling they were grateful to be in a clean, safe environment.  I believe that unlike too many American blacks, they had actually experienced real oppression, and probably puzzled at the attitude of street blacks.  Unfortunately, I was only able to work there about two-years.  An old illness cropped up, and I had to resign so that I could heal. 

The detrimental effects of forced integration, affirmative action, and the removal of Christian concepts from government and schools are easy to see.  There has to be a lesson in this. The contrast between Christian blacks and feral street-mutts is too stark for it not to be.

The Bible says that people from all nations will dwell in God's kingdom.  A people not diversified but united in one faith.  We avoid Christian principals at our own risk.

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